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Anoka Personal Injury Law Blog

The Fix Is In

In the June 2, 2019 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on the front page, was the beginning of an article discussing the problems that many women have been experiencing after the implantation of pelvic mesh to help with bladder issues, usually following pregnancy. The sum and substance of the article is that the manufacturers of these products have figured out away to scam the system and get their (dangerous) products onto the market with the FDA approval. They do this because the FDA is understaffed and underfunded and therefore must rely on the manufacturers of these products to test them and certifiy their efficacy! That's right. The lunatics now have figured out away to run the asylum. What's worse is that they have also rigged the system so that if a product has FDA approval it is increasingly difficult to sue the manufacturer because they managed to get FDA approval before they put the product on the market. Heads they win; tails the consumer loses. And even worse is the fact that a lot of this stuff is paid for by Medicare which means tax dollars which means all of us are subsidizing this broken system.

BUYING A NEW CAR? READ THIS

Three days ago I got a phone call from a gentleman whose three-year-old minivan had been totaled in a crash, not his fault. Because he had financed the vehicle over six years, he still owes over $12,000 on the vehicle, yet has been told that he will only get $9000 for replacement cost because that is all the vehicle is worth.

Stacking the Deck, Part 2

Following up to yesterday's blog on unfair arbitration clauses, in today's Star Tribune there was an article about a Senate bill introduced by Sen. Franken, cosponsored by 15 other senators, designed to put an end to these stealth arbitration provisions. In the article the senator noted that these clauses are one-sided and effectively eliminate a person's right to sue. The United States Chamber of Commerce responded with the argument that such arbitration clauses really do the consumer a favor because the alternative is personal injury lawyers starting class actions in which the personal injury lawyers make a lot of money and the injured consumers make very little. While that's true, the present system with these stealth arbitration clauses is even worse. A simple example serves to prove this. Suppose you are consumer and your bank has ripped you off with illegal fees to the tune of some $30. Let's say the bank has 2 million customers that they have done this to. That means the bank ripped people off to the tune of some $60 million. These stealth arbitration clauses usually prevent injured customers from banding together as a class to get their money back, which means you would have to start your own arbitration proceeding to get $30. 99.999% of the population won't do that, and the banks know it. So under the present system the bank walks off with $6 million in stolen money. A class-action lawsuit would force the bank to give back the $6 million, and that's why they don't like them.

Stacking the Deck of Justice

Just last week the New York Times published a very well researched article on the subject of forced arbitration clauses being inserted into contracts by corporate America for the purpose of eliminating a consumer's right to sue. These forced arbitration clauses are in virtually every contract that everyone has to sign to get things like cell phones, credit cards, or a bank account. Naturally the worst offenders are the brokerage houses, credit card companies, and banks too big to fail. You can view the article by clicking here. It's called "Stacking the Deck of Justice" for good reason.

Rise In Farming Accidents

Just last week the Minnesota Star Tribune ran a series of articles concerning the dangers of the family farm. "Farming remains one of the most dangerous occupations in America, with fatality rates above other high risk industries such as mining and construction. Altogether, nearly 5000 people have died in farm accidents since 2003." Farming remains one of the nation's most dangerous occupations, generating an average of more than 400 work-related deaths each year.

A Small Victory for Consumers?

About two weeks ago I filed the final brief in a case now pending in front of the Minnesota Court of Appeals entitled Nichols v. Cimbura. In that case the defendant had T-boned Mr. Nichols' almost new vehicle at relatively high speeds, causing a little over $11,000 worth of damage. Although the body shop was able to do a wonderful job with the repairs, even after those excellent repairs Mr. Nichols discovered that his vehicle was now worth about $5000 less than it would have been had it never been involved in the collision, due to the fact that the crash caused frame damage as well as damage to some of the safety components of the vehicle. As we all know, a vehicle that has been severely damaged in a collision is usually worth substantially less than the same vehicle which had never been involved in a collision.

MOTORCYLE DEATHS UP 50%!!??

In today's Minneapolis Star Tribune there was an article reporting that since this past Saturday four more motorcyclists have died in crashes on Minnesota roads, which increases the fatality total so far this year to 24, which is a 50% increase over this same time a year ago. That's 24 people dead in probably the last 2 1/2 months!

The Future of the Automobile Industry?

In this past Monday's Star Tribune was an article reprinted from the Los Angeles Times. It discussed an analysis of the automobile industry by the giant investment bank, Morgan Stanley. The author of the study concluded that the automobile industry as we know it will not be recognizable in the not-too-distant future. The 2 factors that are going to cause this disruption are the sharing economy and autonomous driving. According to Morgan Stanley, the $10 trillion worldwide automotive industry is in for a huge shakeup due to these factors.

DROWSY DRIVING = DRUNK DRIVING

In this month's issue of the Costco magazine is an article about the dangers of driving while fatigued.  After 20 hours without sleep the average person performs as someone with a blood-alcohol level of .08 would. There were some other statistics that bear repeating here:

Farming is Dangerous Work

In Monday's Star Tribune was a tragic report of a death in Renville County of a 53-year-old farmer who was crushed by the tractor tire he was trying to change.For every 100,000 farm workers, about 25 are killed each year and 243 are injured. 5% of those injuries result in some sort of permanent disability. The National Safety Council also reports that of the approximately 3.1 million people who work on America's 2.3 million farms and ranches, 1300 die each year and 120,000 are injured. This makes farming one of the most dangerous occupations in America, right behind underground coal mining.Sadly, many farm fatalities involve children. The National Center for Farmworker Health estimates that between 180,000 and 800,000 agricultural workers in the United States are under 18 years of age and more than 300 of these children die each year in farming related accidents.In 2012 the United States Department of Labor tried to ban children under the age of 16 from operating any kind of power driven farm equipment, including tractors, and to prevent children under 18 from working in grain silos, feedlots or stockyards. This effort was rejected.Farms also enjoy special protection from workers compensation laws in Minnesota. Injured workers often have little or no recourse. There are, however, many successfully reported cases against equipment manufacturers whose farming equipment causes or contributes to injury due to poor design. The only way to determine if that is true in a particular case is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.